Manhole covers and drains Back to Blog

Manhole covers and drains

Manhole covers and drains

Prior to carrying out any work on drainage systems that are not owned by yourself, you should establish who the owner is. Drainage systems are very usually owned and maintained by private companies, however some councils in the UK employ their own workforce. You do not normally need to apply for any type of planning permission to make small repairs to any drainage systems you do not own. This applies to drains and manhole covers. If you cannot directly contact the owner of the respective drain or manhole cover, you may repair it yourself.

The maintenance of these systems falls under permitted development. However, any work that goes beyond minor repair and maintenance is likely to require planning permission, although in some cases, homeowners have joint ownership of drains and manholes located close to the property, in which case you may carry out work under permitted development that extends beyond minor repairs.

In all cases, repair work and maintenance must be carried out to the latest standards and legislation. Failure to do so could result in legal action being taken against you. We therefore strongly advise to find out who the owner of the drainage system that needs repairing is.

Building regulations for drainage

Any drainage maintenance, repair or build that alters the structure of it, is classed as ‘building work’. Therefore, there are certain building regulations in place to ensure that drainage systems for residential properties will be effective. If you are planning to build an extension to your home or make exterior alterations that will require new drainage and / or sewerage systems, your builder will be required to look at Approved Document Part H for detailed advice on complying with the latest building regulations.

Listed building drainage

Any work to drainage systems that form part of a listed property will require listed building consent. It is a criminal offence to carry out any work that changes the structure of the property in its entirety without listed building consent.

For more information on drainage planning permission, please visit The Planning Portal.


The information contained within this article is strictly for guidance only.  Cost2Build recommends that you always check current sources of information in case regulations have changed. Cost2Build cannot accept any liability for miscommunication of the law in the case of a change in regulation or any action done to a property based on the information held in this article.

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